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Posts posted by TAD2005

  1. Some CC members ask the cabin steward to completely empty their mini-bar fridge upon boarding. That way the fridge is open and available for bottles of water or any sodas you bring back to the room. Plus, there is no hassles about mini-bar items being charged to your account days after you leave the ship. We have had that happen multiple times, and we have had to call HAL after we got home to dispute the charge. No problem getting it taken off, but it is a hassle you should not have to go through.

  2. Future Cruise Deposits offer reduced deposits and OBC on all cruises. Also, you normally receive and email from HAL soon after your cruise offering to double the OBC if you book within 60 days (promo code ZPM).


    The OBC varies based upon the category you book and the lenght of the cruise.


    We booked a 2017 21 day Panama Canal cruise while on board the Oosterdam in Dec 2016. We got $100 deposits, and double OBC, which was $800 for the 2 of us. After we got home, we transferred the cruise to our TA. Then,we found another cruise that would work better, 25 days Med/TA. Our TA switched us, we kept the double OBC of $800, got pre-paid HSC, and a Pinnacle Grill lunch & dinner. We are extremely happy with the onboard booking process, and you do get lots of benefits. Because we booked an actual cruise, not just a future cruise deposit, we can cancel anytime before final payment with full refund.

  3. I don't plan on cases of soda just a few bottles. I like my root beer. We have the beverage package. Just want a few in the room so I don't have to run to the bar all the time. Not planning on a lot of snacks either. That would be great if we can get to our room right always, we always had to wait to get to our room on other ships. Not sure what time we will get to port. I. So ready to get away just need to get though the rest of the school year.


    We usually cruise with the signature beverage package (SBP), either purchased, or through Explore-4. Sodas by the can are included, and they do have root beer on the ships we have been on. (no guarantees) We usually stop at a bar on the way back to the cabin at night and pickup a few 1 liter bottles of water and a few cans of ginger ale. We stuff them into the fridge and take the water on our next day shore excursion. The SBP covers just about anything you can drink, under the current menu price of $9.

  4. We are on the Noordam on May 21st. I have a few questions since we never sailed on Holland before.

    1. Is it still ok to bring pop on your carry on?

    2. Is it ok to bring small amounts of snacks on board in you carry on or checked in ? ( such as chips, beef jerky)

    3. What is the best time to go down to port to go through customs and get on board

    4 how soon does it take for to be able to get into your room and how soon does your luggage arrive?


    Thanks for any help.


    We usually get to the port about 11:00 am even though HAL recommends 1;00 pm. Also, you don't go through customs to get onboard, just a quick security check and scan of your carry-ons. Customs clearance happens after the cruise is over.


    HAL doesn't care if you bring food items onto the ship, but they have a big problem if you try to take food off. Most countries you visit, including the return to the US prohibit any food, fruits, plants, etc. We were allowed to bring in some spices back that we purchased in Turkey and Greece. I think HAL only cares about alcoholic beverages being brought onboard. Wine is OK, but beer and liquor is a no-no. Soda is OK, but who wants to lug around a couple of cases of soda ? You spent a couple thousand for the cruise, so buy a soda card and save yourself a lot of work.


    When you are allowed onboard, your cabin us usually ready. Your luggage will show up at your cabin door any time between boarding and departure. Usually before the muster drill, but not always.

  5. yes those pictures are beautiful but I think OP was wanting pictures of interior. We have been hoping for more pictures of interior as well. Based on the few I have seen the arrangement of the TV above couch takes away the better seating that I had hoped for by getting a suite.......looks like the only non-bed seating is a small straight back chair......disappointing after paying for the small suite rather than just getting a regular verandah room with small sofa facing TV. But we will smile and enjoy it since it is still great to get out of town on vacation.


    I was curious about regular veranda cabins. We were just on the Oosterdam, which had gone through a drydock renovation last year. The tiny flat screen TV's above the desk were replaced by a large 42" flat screen mounted in a kind of shadow box frame right at the foot of the bed. It was a perfect location for viewing the TV. I certainly hope they did the same on the Westerdam reno. We also had friends who were just in a veranda cabin on the Eurodam, post drydock, and the TV was also on the wall at the foot of the bed.

  6. You are hard pressed to find a liquor that is not covered. Even Grey Goose vodka is included. Yes, the single malt selections are above the $8 limit. Wines are the only area where the SBP comes up short. But now, with the increase to $9 for most cocktails, they have raised the SBP limit to $9. In the past, the cost of the SBP (if you actually purchase it, not get it through Explore-4) would get you about 6-1/2 $8 drinks per day. After that you are drinking free. With the drink prices raised to $9, and the SBP limit raised to match, the break even point is now 5 drinks, and anything above is free.

  7. Hey.. we are in adjoining Deck 7aft cabins with good friends, is the partition removable?


    Yes. You will see it opened when they hose off the balconies occasionally during the cruise. They take a hose and pass through all of the balconies with the passage doors open. Ask your cabin steward to open it and leave it open for the duration of your cruise. The partition doesn't go away, but the little door does allow easy passage between balconies.

  8. Thanks for the fast replies! Sounds like we will be just fine.


    Unless you will settle for nothing short of the top of line single malt, you will have no problems with any cocktail. Even drinks like Long Island Ice Tea, or Black Russians, where there are multiple shots of alcohol in the drink are still included in the package. All beers are included, even Grolsch, which is a premium 16 oz bottled beer. The only shortcoming is in the area of wine. They do have some acceptable reds and whites, but if you have favorites, you would will have to pay individually by the glass or get a bottle. Now that the SBP price has increased to $9 per drink, that may include a few more wines by the glass. We consider the SBP a deal for us. The breakeven point used to be 6-1/2 drinks before you are drinking free. Now that the average drink price has increased to $9, the breakeven point is down to just 5 drinks (5.1 to be exact, $8.95 X 15% SC = $10.30. divided into $51.70 daily cost of SBP and you get 5.1 drinks). Of course, that only holds true if HAL keeps the SBP daily price at $44.95 per day plus 15% service charge.

  9. We and our travelling friends will be on a 25 day Med/Trans-Atlantic on the Westerdam in October. We both enjoy the extra sized balconies and great views of the aft cabins on the Vista-Class ships. Our cabin is on deck 5 aft, and our friends are on deck 8 aft. On another site that shows actual pictures of cabins taken by guests, we saw a video review of the deck 8 aft cabin where they say that every morning, crews will hose-off the Lido open pool deck above of all of the dirt and soot that accumulates from the ship's stacks. This cruddy water was flowing down onto their deck 8 balcony and the furniture, making it wet and black with dirt. I would assume that since then, someone would have complained and they would modify this practice or somehow direct the dirty water into drains instead of over onto the balconies below. Has anyone experienced this issue with a deck 8 aft cabin ?


    Also, looking at a side photo of the Westy, it appears that the deck 5 aft balconies are almost 100% covered by the deck above, while deck 4, 6, 7 & 8 have a tiered effect, so that each aft balcony has only a partial cover. Is that true ?

  10. We have the HSC paid as part of our booking for a 25 day cruise which is a $675.00 benefit. Does HAL add that amount on your portfolio the first day, and they deduct the $27 (for 2 people) per day ? With the SBP, your daily drinks are debited, and then immediately credited back, one-for-one. There is no specific base value to work off. With the pre-paid HSC, there is a specific value that is debited each day against your account. I would feel better if I saw the full $675 as a credit to our account, and work it down each day.

  11. As many CC members will advise, NEVER book a cruise immediately before or after a dry-dock refurbishment. Many times, crews will board a week or so before dry-dock and start work in some areas. And cruise lines rarely schedule enough down-time in dry-dock, so they keep crews onboard to continue the upgrades after the ship leaves dry-dock on a cruise with paying passengers. The same has happened this time with the Westerdam, but it appears they won't be totally completed until May 24, which is outrageous. They usually end up giving OBC for the disruption and loss of access to certain public areas of the ship. Good rule of thumb.... check CC for dry-dock schedules, charters, and groups on-board.

  12. Thank you...great info. Can you purchase it in advance calling ships services if you used a travel agent, or does the TA have to do it for you? We will be on a cruise in Europe for 14 days plus 4 days on land. $7/day would be worth it, $9/day not so much.


    We always use our favorite TA. And we have had no problems contacting Ship's Services directly for things like the Laundry Package, distilled water for CPAP, or even MDR table requests. I think you must go through your TA if you are trying to make any changes to your cruise, upsell, cabin change, HAL Flights, etc. And yes, anything you spend onboard, even laundry by the bag or the unlimited package counts towards your Mariner spending credits.


    Also, the Unlimited Laundry Package is $7 (or $9) per day for the whole cabin, not per guest in that cabin.

  13. On NA last week, "Hidden Figures" was such a popular movie that it was shown in the screening room on three separate days. I did not see it offered on the on-demand system in the cabin though.


    We were on the Oosterdam for 21 days last December. There were a few, maybe 3, movies that were in the theater but did not show up on the TV's in the "New Releases" tab of the menus. The Front desk checked with the AV department and said that some of the movies they get for the theater are on DVD, not a digital file, so they have no way to convert that DVD to an MP4 or .AVI file, or whatever format they use and upload it to the in-room movie server. Seems pretty simple, but at this time they can't do it.

  14. You have 3 options with HAL ships laundry. (ignoring the few older ships that still have coin operated do-it-yourself laundries).

    You can do an "ala carte " service, where you get billed for each piece you send out. Most expensive way.


    You can do "Laundry by the Bag". That service is where you stuff all you possibly can into a pretty big bag, and the laundry will return it washed, pressed, on hangers or in a basket. $20 per bag in North America, $30 per bag in Europe. This service is offered on all ships.


    Or, you can purchase the Unlimited laundry Package. With that plan, you can send out a bag full or just a pair of socks and it will be returned in the same way as above. If you ask for a 2nd bag from your cabin steward, you can fill that too. $7 per day for the total number of days of your cruise in North America, or $9 per day in Europe. (Don't ask why laundry on a ship costs more in Europe than North America. No one has been able to explain why.)


    If you put the bag out early in the morning, many times, your clothes are returned the same day, around 5:00 pm. Or the next day. With any of the 3 methods, you cannot use it on the last day before disembarkation. Usually, the cutoff is the 2nd day before you leave the ship.


    You can pre-purchase the "Unlimited" package by calling Ship's Services ahead of your cruise. That will be $7 per day, no matter where your cruise is sailing. If you purchase it on the ship, you will get hit with the $9 per day rate in Europe. Make sure you bring your pre-purchase receipt that HAL provides with you when you board.


    To keep track of who's underwear is who's, the laundry puts little sticky strips on some of your pieces. They are still there when you receive them back. Make sure to pull them off carefully, they stick very well, and you could rip a very delicate article. But, it's fun, 6 months after the cruise, and you wonder what has been scratching you in your privates, and you find a laundry sticker from your last cruise. Fond memories.

  15. The regular (non-elite) beverage package works well for us. We have found the break-even point is 6-1/2 drinks, based on typical $7.95 cocktail prices plus 15% service charge. After the 6 or 7 drinks, you are drinking free. Plus we can sample anything we want and if we don't like it, toss it and get another. The only shortcoming is the selection of wines under that magic $8 limit. Even though you have the package, HAL still posts your drinks on your daily folio, that you can see online, while onboard. The charges are added, then immediately credited back. We have used that at the end of the cruise to justify purchasing the package. Every time, we have come out ahead.

    It is annoying that a non-drinking partner in the same cabin cannot opt out of purchasing the package, unless you show a doc's note. But some people always find a way to scam the system. It's tough for the bartenders and waiters to make sure you are not sharing your drinks with others, but that is the reason for the mandatory purchase requirement for 21 and up guests.

    One thing I do have a problem with is the $5 per day surcharge that HAL has added this year to ONLY the regular package, if you purchase it onboard instead of online before sailing. It appears that HAL doesn't want you to use your HAL provided OBC (non-refundable) to purchase the package. They would rather you use it for shore excursions, Spa services, specialty dining, etc, where the markup is much higher. No other item that you can purchase online has a surcharge if purchased onboard, just the regular beverage package. Even the elite package is the same price online and onboard. HAL's ship coordinator could not (or would not) give me a reason for the $5 surcharge.

  16. Are there veranda cabins that have more footage than others? Not including aft facing or accessible.


    Are the VB Veranda cabins on deck 10 noisey? Do they have privacy issues?


    Finally, is there a spreadsheet with details about cabins on HAL ships on this website?


    The new balconies on the Zuiderdam's deck 10 were added during the dry-dock a year ago. These new veranda cabins are nicknamed "Juliet Balconies" because they are so small that all you can do is stand out there at the railing. There is very little space between the glass door and the railing. Do NOT book one of these cabins if you want a decent sized balcony. The aft balconies are the biggest unless you want to step up to a suite. Also, steer away from the VA grade veranda cabins on deck 5 mid-ships. Because of the lifeboats, the deck width is reduced at that part of the ship and so is are the balconies. Also, you have the additional enjoyment of looking at the tops of the huge orange lifeboats hanging just below your balcony. The best site I have seen for cabin dimensions and actual pictures of the cabins is cruise deck plans dot com.

  17. Thanks for all of the advice. Buying OBC in advance makes it easy. I always seem to get his with a few mini-bar purchases that I never used. On this long (25 day) cruise, I also have the HSC prepaid. Do they credit my onboard account with the $675 for the 25 days, or do they just do a debit and credit wash each day? Do I actually see the HSC applied to my account, or is it charged and then credited back on a daily basis ?

  18. Yes, done it many times. You can also buy OBC in advance by calling ships services so you don't have to deposit any "cash" at all - it is already there.


    Thanks. Most of my OBC is from booking this cruise while onboard with the future cruise consultant. The remainder is from my TA. Can 100% of the OBC, no matter where it comes from, get applied to reduce the cash deposit ?

    Thanks also for the tip about pre-purchasing the OBC so no cash is needed to be paid at check-in.

  19. We have a fairly long cruise coming up, and we usually place a cash deposit with the front desk upon boarding instead of a credit card hold. On this long cruise we will have a considerable amount of OBC from HAL and our TA. Does HAL allow one to reduce the cash deposit based on the amount of OBC one has in their account ?

  20. Lucky for you that price does not matter and you can afford a better location.


    We are retired too, but if we are going to spend 15 - 30 days at sea in a balcony cabin, we want to SEE the SEA !! We are not short people, but we have had a steel railing cabin only once, (and never again). We simply don't like obstructed views. And other CC posters are correct, you can get a plexiglass balcony veranda cabin for the same price as an obstructed view cabin on deck 4, just on a higher deck. The balcony size is a consideration, but if you are going to spend any time on your big balcony, why have to crane your neck to see anything ? We also turned down a VA cabin upgrade on a Vista class ship. The VA grade cabins on deck 5, mid-ships, all have huge orange lifeboats hanging right under your balcony. You can see straight out, but looking down, all you see are orange lifeboat tops. We kept our VD grade cabin on deck 6 forward instead of accepting HAL's "upgrade" to a VA cabin on deck 5 mid-ships. Sometimes an "upgrade" is not all it's cracked up to be.

  21. My understanding is that your deposit is refundable all the way up until the full payment is due. I believe that is 90 days prior to sailing.


    On most cruises, except the Grand Voyages and World Cruises, the final payment is due 75 days out from sailing. And the deposit is fully refundable up to the 76th day. Or you can earmark it for a future cruise. But you cannot re-book a deposit for a future cruise that is about to go into default from the first cruise and get another refundable period. If you cancel this 2nd cruise, you are SOL and have lost your deposit.

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